Nigerian professors jailed in Cameroon petition House of Reps

Professors of some Nigerian universities and other professionals working in Nigeria that have been detained in Cameroon have petitioned the House of Representatives to intervene in their cases.

The petition of the detained professors was presented to the House Committee on Public Petitions by a legal firm.

The law firm, FRULAW CHAMBERS: Barristers, Solicitors, Public Notaries of the Cameroon Bar Association, revealed that the petitioners, numbering 10, and who are registered refugees in Nigeria, are calling on the Federal Government, headed by President Bola Tinubu, to deploy other means to secure their release from detention by the Cameroonian authorities.

The Cameroonian Refugees Professors and Professionals were arrested at Nera Hotel in Abuja on January 5, 2018 by security agents and later repatriated to Cameroon, tried by a military tribunal and sentenced to life imprisonment at the Kondengui maximum security detention facility.

In their petition, the asylum seekers in Nigeria pleaded with the House to, among others, cause the government of Nigeria to institute an urgent action to secure the implementation of Communication 59/2022 of October 14, 2022 of the UN-HRC-WGAD calling for their release. 

They demanded in the petition: “Cause the Government of Nigeria to take action and implement the rulings in the three judgments of the Federal High Court of Abuja in 2019, ordering the release and compensation of these Petitioners. 

“Call on the Nigeria government to leverage on the Abuja 2002 Ruling in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/30/2002 between The Southern Cameroons Rep by Kelvin Ngwang Ngumne et al Vs the Attorney General Federal Republic of Nigeria, and intervenes to resolve the conflict between Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun. 

“Cause the Nigeria government to take action and urgently initiate proceedings before the ICJ and other international jurisdictions citing la République du Cameroun to be Sanctioned for fraudulent misrepresentation during the Bakassi Peninsula case in the — ICJ.  

“The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should take its rightful place as a ‘Big brother’ and intervene as a mediator between the Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun to resolve the ongoing conflict and restore peace and stability in the Gulf of Guinea region.”

Addressing journalists on the petition, a lawyer at FRULAW CHAMBERS and a former Member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abdul Shaibu Oroh, reiterated the call on the President Tinubu-led Federal Government to employ diplomatic and political measures to ensure the release of the detainees.

According to Oroh: “What we are asking the parliament to do, we realise that these people were not detained under the administration of Bola Tinubu. 

“Bola Tinubu is a human rights person. 

“He was a former exile, a former refugee in another country who was running away from tyranny. 

“He fought tyranny and defeated tyranny. 

“Now there is hope renewed, so we want that hope that is renewed to engage our neighbours, to touch the lives of our neighbours, especially these my clients. 

“We want him to intervene with the Cameroonian authorities to release them. 

“Even the UN Special Commission on Arbitrary Arrests made this appeal to the (former President Muhammadu) Buhari administration, but you people know that the Buhari administration didn’t respect human rights, they didn’t listen to anybody. 

“So we are appealing to him, we are appealing to our parliament elected by our people, by sovereign will of the Nigerian people to intervene with the Cameroonian authorities to release these people. 

“Maybe they can go into a conversation to negotiate peace because these people are interested in peace. 

“So that their refugees can return home, so that their people can have peace. 

“You know, you cannot negotiate with somebody who is not free. 

“These people, one of them, a former Deputy Registrar of Ahmadu Bello University, he was 65 years old and according to the law of Cameroon, you cannot sentence a man who is 65 years old to life imprisonment. 

“So what did they do? 

“They fined him the equivalent of $533 million. 

“Even the Cameroonian state cannot afford that kind of money not to talk of an individual, an old man who is simply saying let me be myself. 

“So we want the Federal Government of Nigeria to intervene diplomatically and by other means to first of all secure the release of these people, their liberty and if they’re free it is now up to them to meet their people in one way or the other either to negotiate with the Cameroonian state or whatever. 

“That is going to be a political decision they will have to take on their own. 

“We are interested in their liberty, freedom. 

“That is the core of the petition we have submitted to the House Committee on Public Petitions.”

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